Delaware Economic Development Working Group Recommends Plan for Public-Private Partnership

Governor Carney created the working group with Executive Order #1

WILMINGTON, Del. – The Delaware Economic Development Working Group submitted its report to Governor John Carney on Friday, recommending a plan to implement a public-private partnership – the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – that would restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts.

The nonprofit partnership, as recommended by the working group, would leverage private resources to enhance business recruitment, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, support workforce development and provide market analysis on Delaware’s economy.

On January 18, his first full day in office, Governor Carney signed Executive Order #1, creating the working group to recommend a plan for implementing a public-private partnership to improve Delaware’s system of economic development.

Governor Carney is reviewing the working group’s recommendations.

“Delaware’s economy continues to undergo substantial change, and we should do everything we can to ensure Delaware is competing for the good-paying jobs of the future, preparing our workforce for those jobs, supporting our entrepreneurs and promoting innovation,” said Governor Carney. “It makes sense to ask the business sector to partner in those efforts. Thank you to the members of the working group for their attention to this important issue. I am committed to working with the General Assembly as we explore a path forward.”

A new partnership, as recommended Friday by the working group, would be designed as a forward-looking entity to anticipate economic trends – with success of the initiative defined by a set of metrics to include new job creation, higher wages, expanding Delaware’s high-quality talent base, growing Delaware’s tax base, and new business formation.

The working group’s plan does not call for a full replacement of the Delaware Economic Development Office. Under the group’s recommendations, DEDO would remain responsible for administering the Delaware Strategic Fund, Delaware’s Tourism office, business development initiatives and various additional functions.

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership would be led by a Chief Executive Officer and governed by a 15-member board with members from the public and private sectors. Friday’s report anticipates a total annual budget of $2.5 million – with the private sector funding a target of 40-60 percent of the nonprofit’s operational costs.

“The members of the working group were honored to serve the Governor on this project and brought a lot of energy, commitment and great thinking to the process of developing the final report,” said Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “The literature shows that states that want to bring additional resources and talent to their economic development initiatives in the future utilize public-private partnerships as a mechanism for generating these additional resources and this proposed model is a very solid start for the Governor’s team and the General Assembly to build upon during the weeks and months ahead.”

“I want to thank all the working group members for their active and thoughtful participation,” said Rod Ward, President of Corporation Service Company, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “Our report outlines a wonderful opportunity for the business community to work more closely with the state on economic development through a public-private partnership. It can be a game changer for economic growth.”

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Governor Carney Releases Statewide Anti-discrimination Policy

Policy will allow state to consistently address discrimination in the workplace

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Monday released a uniform, anti-discrimination policy that will allow state agencies to consistently respond to reports of discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace – and clearly outlines a consistent policy for state employees to report and resolve complaints of discrimination.

Governor Carney signed Executive Order Six on March 1, directing the Office of Management and Budget to create a consistent anti-discrimination policy by April 1. The policy has been circulated to all Executive Branch agencies. Human resources managers from each agency had an opportunity to review and provide feedback prior to the release. The policy was adopted April 1.

Full text of the policy is available below.

“This uniform policy will mean better, standardized inclusion and diversity training for state personnel, and will lead to a consistent process for identifying and eliminating discrimination across state government” said Governor Carney. “We need to be a leader in creating an inclusive and discrimination-free workplace. While agencies throughout the state had policies addressing discrimination, this statewide policy will ensure that all state employees know where to go if they aren’t being treated fairly.”

The creation of a consistent anti-discrimination policy was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware, the report submitted to Governor Carney by his Transition Team.

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Full text of the policy:

POLICY ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION, WORKPLACE HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION
Policy Number: P17-001
Effective Date: 04/01/2017 Supersedes: State Agency Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure
Application: All Executive Branch State Employees Merit Rule: 2.1
Authority: Executive Order #6
PURPOSE AND SCOPE

To establish a policy with uniform procedures for the Executive Branch of the State of Delaware outlining its position and practice with regard to anti-discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace and to outline the method of reporting and resolving complaints.

DEFINITIONS

Protected Class: This policy prohibits unequal and unlawful treatment of an individual on the basis of a person’s race, color, national origin, gender, age (40 and over), sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, disability, or veteran’s status, and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking, family responsibility, or any other category protected by state and/or federal civil rights laws.

Prohibited Activities: Any unwelcome verbal, written, physical conduct, or electronic communication that either degrades or shows hostility or aversion towards a person because of that person’s protected class.

Harassment: Unwelcome conduct that is based on an individual’s protected class. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating or hostile.

Retaliation: Any act of reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, intimidation, or harassment against an individual or individuals that has an adverse employment action for exercising rights under this policy.

Third-Party Individuals: These individuals include contractors, volunteers and other third-party, non-state employees. Any discrimination, harassment, or retaliation claims made by a third-party, must be addressed through the third-party’s employer and/or DDOL or EEOC.
Workplace: Any location, either permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes but is not limited to the buildings and the surrounding perimeters, including the parking lots. It includes all state-owned and leased space, including vehicles, and any location where state business is conducted.
POLICY

The State of Delaware is firmly committed to the principle of providing a working environment free of discrimination and harassment based on a person’s race, color, national origin, age, sex, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status or any other category protected by applicable state and/or federal law.

State employees are strictly prohibited from engaging in any form of discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Examples of prohibited behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Discriminating against an individual with regard to terms and conditions of employment because of being in one or more of the protected categories referred to;
  • Engaging in threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts toward another individual in the workplace because the individual belongs to, or is associated with, any of the protected categories;
  • Displaying or distributing material (including electronic communications) in the work place that contains derogatory or demeaning language or images pertaining to any of the protected categories;
  • Unwelcome touching or near-touching, which can encompass leaning over, cornering, hugging, pinching, sexual innuendos, teasing and other sexual talk such as jokes, personal inquiries, persistent unwanted attention and sexist remarks; (See also Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy); or
  • Slurs, jokes or remarks that are derogatory, demeaning, threatening or suggestive to a class of persons or a particular person or that promote stereotypes of a class of persons.

The State will not tolerate such conduct by State employees or any third-party individual on its workplace. Any employee, who after a complete and impartial investigation, is found to have engaged in such conduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

No employee shall be subjected to retaliation for reporting, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing resulting from a complaint of discriminatory or harassing behavior. No employee shall intimidate, threaten, coerce or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with that person’s right to file a complaint of harassment or discrimination.

State agencies shall provide all new employees with training on this policy and procedure within a reasonable period of time after the employee’s first date of employment with the State, not to exceed the first 90 days of employment. Refresher training shall be provided to all employees, including supervisors, within a reasonable period of time, but not to exceed every three (3) years. All state agencies shall also provide supervisors with training on a regular basis regarding their obligations and duties under this policy and procedure. The Office of Management and Budget may assign mandatory training in furtherance of this policy.

While the State of Delaware is committed to the principles embodied in this policy, it is not intended to state contractual terms and does not constitute a contract between the State and its employees. Furthermore, this statement constitutes only the policy of the State of Delaware. A finding violation of this policy does not mean that the conduct violates state and/or federal laws.

PROCEDURE

An employee who believes they have been discriminated against, harassed or subjected to retaliation on any of the bases set forth in this policy should utilize the following procedures:

  1. Promptly report the incident and details related to the complaint to the department’s Human Resources Manager, their Division Director, their supervisor, or any individual designated by the department to receive such reports.

    Under no circumstances is the individual alleging workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation required to file a complaint with the alleged harasser.

  2. Any supervisor or manager receiving a complaint must notify their Human Resources Manager or other individual that has been designated by the department to receive such complaints within one (1) business day of receipt of the complaint.
    Supervisory personnel who allow workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation to continue or fail to take appropriate action upon learning of such conduct will be subject to corrective action. Such corrective action includes, but is not limited to, mandatory referral to EAP, training, disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  3. The department Human Resources Manager must also be notified, in addition to any other individual designated by the department to receive such complaints. If your agency does not have a Human Resources Manager, if the complaint crosses agencies, or if the complaint involves a Cabinet Secretary or Deputy Secretary, the Office of Management and Budget shall be notified, and a determination will be made as to the appropriate individual(s) to investigate the complaint.
  4. The Human Resources Manager or designee shall conduct a neutral and thorough investigation of reported workplace discrimination complaints within a reasonable timeframe. All employees are expected to cooperate with administrative investigations. Failure to cooperate in an administrative investigation may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
    a. Any employee found to have knowingly and willfully filed false charges of discrimination, harassment or retaliation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
  5. Objectives of the investigation include whether the complaint can be substantiated on the basis of facts, recommending appropriate action and suggestions for preventing future occurrences.
  6. The relevant parties will be informed if the complaint has been substantiated or unsubstantiated. If the complaint is substantiated, the department shall take appropriate action recommended by Agency Human Resources or designed and/or the Office of Management and Budget.

Corrective action may include, but is not limited to, mandatory participation in counseling, training, disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Disciplinary action(s) shall be processed in accordance with Merit System Rules and/or collective bargaining agreements, where applicable.
Making a complaint pursuant to this policy will not extend the timeframes, prescribed by statute, by which any person must file a formal complaint through the Merit Rules, the Department of Labor’s (DDOL) Office of Anti-Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a Collective Bargaining Agreement, if applicable, or any court or regulatory body.

The statute of limitations for filing a charge with DDOL or EEOC under State and Federal law is (300) days from the date of the discriminatory action. Making a complaint pursuant to this policy will not extend the time by which any person must file a formal complaint with the Delaware Department of Labor, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. No provision of this policy is intended to create any individual right or legal cause of action that does not already exist under state or federal law.
Questions regarding this policy may be directed to Human Resource Management, Employee Relations (302)739-4195.

This policy is not intended to create any individual right or cause of action not already existing and recognized under state or federal law.


Governor Carney Accepts Strategic Plan from Delaware Pathways Steering Committee

Plan would improve Delaware’s efforts to connect educators and employers, and expand work-based learning

WILMINGTON, Del. – The Delaware Pathways Steering Committee presented its Strategic Plan to Governor John Carney on Wednesday – including priorities designed to more effectively connect Delaware educators and employers, create additional work-based learning opportunities for Delaware middle and high school students and better prepare Delaware students to enter college or a career in a high-growth industry.

Governor Carney is committed to expanding work-based learning opportunities for Delaware students, and is reviewing the Committee’s plan.

“Delaware’s economy remains in a period of significant transition, and we should ensure our schools are teaching the skills that employers demand,” said Governor Carney. “That means connecting Delaware’s educators with our employers, allowing our students to gain practical, work-based experience and retooling our workforce development programs to help students and employers succeed. Thank you to the members of the Steering Committee for producing this Strategic Plan, which will help us prepare Delaware’s students to succeed in jobs of the future.”

Governor Carney will speak at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday to the Third Annual Delaware Pathways Conference at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.

Delaware launched its Pathways to Prosperity initiative in 2015 to establish partnerships between Delaware employers and educators, and better prepare Delaware’s students for college or a career. Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order 61 last year, creating the Steering Committee to expand the Pathways program.

The Strategic Plan released on Wednesday includes five core priorities:

  • Build a comprehensive system of career preparation that aligns with the state and regional economies;
  • Scale and sustain meaningful work-based learning experiences for students in grades 7-14;
  • Integrate our education and workforce development efforts and data systems;
  • Coordinate financial support for Delaware Pathways;
  • And engage employers, educators, and service providers to support Delaware Pathways.

The Steering Committee includes representatives from the Delaware Departments of Education and Labor, the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Delaware Workforce Development Board, Delaware Technical Community College, United Way of Delaware, the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, the Rodel Foundation, Capital One, and Delmarva Power.

“The Steering Committee is proud of the report and very pleased that these recommendations will add a level of continuity to the great work already being done in our state to provide middle and high school students career awareness and work-based learning experiences,” said Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, who Chairs the Steering Committee. “Governor Carney’s support of Pathways demonstrates his commitment to building Delaware’s talent pipeline for the future by engaging all of our high school students in comprehensive college and career readiness programs.”

“As the Chair of the Workforce Development Board for Delaware and President of one of the largest businesses in the State, I see the Pathways effort as a critical transformation of how we approach workforce development in the future, and the Strategic Plan represents a significant collaboration across all stakeholders that clearly defines the steps to success,” said Gary Stockbridge, President, Delmarva Power Region for Pepco Holdings, Inc. “I look forward to helping execute this plan and creating a workforce that keeps Delaware competitive and the place to thrive for the business community.”

Click here to read the full report.

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Call center open for JobLink users impacted by data breach

WILMINGTON – A call center has been set up to provide assistance to impacted users of Delaware Job Link whose personal information may have been part of a data breach of the American JobLink (AJL) Alliance website two weeks ago.

Any past user of the Delaware JobLink website can access the call center by dialing (844) 469-3939 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. EDT until 9 p.m. EDT.

“AJL is agreeing to 3 years of free credit reports for impacted Delaware JobLink users through Equifax,” said Department of Labor Secretary, Patrice Gilliam-Johnson. “Delaware JobLink users who call the toll-free number listed above will be given an access code to enroll in Equifax’s free credit report monitoring.”

Impacted users must enroll within the next 90 days, or by mid-June 2017. Equifax also will provide up to $25,000 in identify theft insurance.​

Sometime between March 13, 2017 and March 14, 2017 the America’s JobLink web-based system that links job seekers with employers in Delaware and nine other states was hacked by a malicious third party last week.

Approximately 253,420 Delaware JobLink users dating back to 2007 may be impacted, including 200,201 of these users whose names, dates of birth and social security numbers were potentially breached.

Initial reports showed no evidence that Delaware’s JobLink system was part of the breach; however last week, the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) and Division of Employment & Training learned that, in fact, Delaware JobLink data had been breached.

DOL staff immediately notified the public and launched its response plan to help impacted JobLink users.

As part of its response, AJL hired an independent forensic firm and brought in the FBI to investigate the breach, which was discovered three weeks after a hacker created a job seeker account in an AJL system. The hacker then exploited a vulnerability in the application code to gain unauthorized access to certain information of other job seekers. This vulnerability has since been eliminated.

This is the first such data breach in the 50-year history of AJL.

“We’re been working diligently to hold AJL accountable in keeping Delaware JobLink users informed and to ensuring their personal information exposed through this hack remains secure,” said Secretary Gilliam-Johnson. “We take very seriously the trust our clients put in us daily and will continue to do our
part to preserve that trust.”

Delaware has very strict contractual agreements with AJL that the state demanded to protect and secure sensitive public information.

Specifically, there are contractual conditions to which AJL was required to agree and adhere as the vendor and host of the JobLink site. One of those conditions is, in the event of a breach, AJL agrees to provide 3-year free credit monitoring, call center and communications about the breach.

In addition to contacting the AJL breach call center, Delaware JobLink users are encouraged to monitor credit reports with major credit reporting agencies listed below:

TransUnion
1 800 916-8800
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com

Equifax
1 800 685-1111
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
www.equifax.com

Experian
1 888 397-3742
PO Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com

Individuals may request a fraud alert and or a credit freeze on your file. They may also contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. See identitytheft.gov/databreach for additional follow-up steps.

If you believe a fraudulent return may have been filed using your information please contact the Delaware Division of Revenue at 1-800-292-7826 or 302-856-5358 or visit our website at www.revenue.delaware.gov for more information regarding identity theft.


DDOL Responds to Jobseeker Site Breach

Updated, March 23, 2017 – A list of Frequently Asked Questions is being maintained on the DDOL website.

Wilmington – March 22, 2017 America’s JobLink (AJL) web-based system that links job seekers with employers in Delaware and nine other states was hacked by a malicious third party last week.

Approximately 253,420 Delaware JobLink users dating back to 2007 may potentially be impacted, including 200,201 of these users whose names, dates of birth and social security numbers were potentially breached.

Initial reports showed no evidence that Delaware’s JobLink system was part of the breach; however, this afternoon, the Delaware Department of Labor and Division of Employment & Training learned that, in fact, Delaware JobLink data had been breached.

“We are extremely troubled by this reprehensible act and have begun the process of ensuring the personal information associated with the users of the Delaware JobLink website is secured and protected,” said Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor. “We are working both closely and diligently with AJL to arrange a formal notification of this breach to all those impacted and are in the process of setting up a call center to assist us in remedying this matter.”

Upon suspecting malicious activity last week, AJL hired an independent forensic firm and brought in the FBI to investigate the breach, which was discovered three weeks after a hacker created a job seeker account in an AJL system.

The hacker then exploited a vulnerability in the application code to gain unauthorized access to certain information of other job seekers. This vulnerability has since been eliminated. This is the first such data breach in the 50-year history of AJL.

The DOL is working with the Delaware Department of Technology & Information on the notification to JobLink users and help setting up credit monitoring and fraud alerts. By next week, AJL will establish a toll-free number for impacted users to call for more information. In the meantime, Delaware JobLink users are encouraged to monitor credit reports with major credit reporting agencies listed below:

TransUnion
1 800 916-8800
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com

Equifax
1 800 685-1111
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
www.equifax.com

Experian
1 888 397-3742
PO Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com

Individuals may request a fraud alert and or a credit freeze on your file. They may also contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. See identitytheft.gov/databreach for additional follow-up steps.